Moving Forward

“You seem to be in a place where you can now decide if you are done,” she started to say as I started to shake my head, “or if you want to cut way back on our visits.”

I started picking at the seam of my pants with uncertainty.

Three years ago I finally told my doctor something wasn’t right and got help. Two years ago I started talk therapy with Dr. Melissa.

One year ago I had a relapse with my postpartum depression.

But I have been feeling really good the past month or so.  Like really good.  Like…dare I say…”normal”?

My last visit to my psychiatrist was approximately 3 minutes long.  There was nothing to discuss other than he didn’t need to see me again for 12 weeks and here are the refills on your prescriptions until that time. Have a great summer.

And then there was the therapy visit.  We talked about being in a good place.  We talked about putting my care back to my GP and away from the psychiatrist. And then she said that thing. About being possibly done.

That can’t be right. I can’t be done. Not yet.  Not with so much uncertainty out there.  I mean…what if I have another break down?  What if the day after we decide I am done, I need her?  I need therapy?  I need…to not be done?

Last week, eight days after that therapist appointment, I read a post by a blogger that encouraged her readers to come here…to this place…to Sluiter Nation…to learn “how to move forward” after having a postpartum mood disorder.

Me?  Showing how to move forward?  How to pick up the pieces and go on with your life?  That is a big responsibility.  That is a big compliment that I could possibly be well enough now to be a role model for Life After PPD.

Is that me?

Am I now in a place that is Beyond PPD?

I still take my medication.  I still have anxiety attacks, but I know how to spot them coming and what to do about them before I am throwing potato chip bags at my poor, confused husband.

However I can’t remember the last time I had a depressed episode.  I’ve had funks that I have been in, but nothing that I would say qualified as actually being depressed.

I have never thought of myself as being “past” that phase until this weekend. For one, I realized Charlie is almost 14 months old–I am not considered “postpartum” anymore.  I know that seems like a mundane thing…like a “who cares” kind of label that was just shed, but it’s sort of a big deal to me.  I’m out of that “first year” phase.  Any of my mood stuff is not associated with “postpartum” anymore.

And I do still have mood stuff.

Friday night after Cort’s graduation ceremony we were herding the kids home waaaay past their bedtimes and I was struggling with some breathing exercises because I could feel the panic of a full weekend ahead of us rising in my chest.  Instead of giving in to it I just informed Cort that I was struggling, but that things would be Ok.

He tried to tell Eddie to stop talking so it wouldn’t bother me, but I recognized that while his incessant constant chatter was bothering me, he was just being a three-almost-four-year-old who hadn’t seen his parents in over 12 hours.  I said, “it’s ok. He can talk,” and I closed my eyes, leaned my face against the cool window, and breathed in through my nose and out through my mouth.

When we got home, I went right to the bathroom to collect myself.  I put my jammies on and heard Cort insisting Eddie go downstairs and wait for him while he put Charlie to bed.  Eddie was not having it (you know, because he was over-tired and missed his parents).  I weakly called out, “I’ll put him to bed.”

Cort was insistent, “you don’t feel good. I can do it. Really.”

(Side note:  That guy takes SUCH good care of me.  I am a lucky lady.)

I pulled myself together and went downstairs to where Cort was helping Eddie with brushing his teeth.  “Really, babe.  I want to.  It’s just laying by him.  That is what I should do if I feel bad anyway.”

So Eddie finished up and we hopped into bed 90 minutes past his bedtime.  We chatted quietly for about 5 minutes, he announced he couldn’t sleep and within 2 more minutes he was sawing logs with an open mouth breathing heavily into my face.

I smiled.

I pulled his blankets up a bit further, kissed his smooshy cheek, and told him I loved him.

And then I was fine.  The anxiety attack had passed.  I could handle the busy weekend.

It was just one weekend.

And the busy was good busy.  We would have such awesome experiences.

It’s Monday morning during my planning hour.  I am tired.  Over-tired.  Normally this would be the first step to depressed, but I don’t feel it this time.

I just feel tired.

So I will go to bed on time tonight–probably not post anything here tomorrow–and get a good night sleep.

And I will be myself again tomorrow.

I still have anxiety.  I still deal with OCD. I will still have depressive episodes.

But I am beyond PPD.  I am more myself now than I have been in four years.

Am I ready to be done with talk therapy?  No.

But I am willing to cut down to once a month and move my prescriptive care back to my GP from my psychiatrist.  And even though that might sound like a boring little tidbit, it’s sort of a big deal to me.

It means that I haven’t just shed the label of postpartum, I have also gained more of myself back.

And that is a big deal.

*************

PSI Blog Hop Badge

• If you need immediate help, please call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

• If you are looking for pregnancy or postpartum support and local resources, please call or email us:

Call PSI Warmline (English & Spanish) 1-800-944-4PPD (4773)
Email support@postpartum.net

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
About Katie Sluiter

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a high school English teacher, college adjunct instructor, freelance writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.

Comments

  1. Congratulations, friend! I’m so very happy for you! :)

  2. That IS a big deal.

    Sending hugs, love, and confetti your way. (The self-cleaning sort, of course).

    This time last year, I was in the same place you are with my post-divorce therapy. I was nervous to be “done” but I was done. It was both terrifying and exciting all at once. I’m happy for you, but I also know that nervous tick inside. May it fade softly and quietly. (HUGS)

    -lauren

    • I’m not ready to be DONE done with therapy…I mean…we plan to have more kids and I like to have the support system there, but yeah. Knowing it’s just preventative care now instead of helping or even maintenance is a BIG deal.

      • Yes, it is a HUGE deal. The way I left it with my therapist was quite open-ended. I could call if I needed to come in but the step down to preventative care prior to that was huge for me too.

        • My other little selfish reason for not quitting completely is that my therapist is part-time and I know it would be MONTHS before I could see her if I didn’t have an appointment made :)

  3. Good for you!! You are doing so well. My daughter is 21 months today and I have felt “great” for the last few months, but in the back of my mind, I am just waiiiiiiting. But nothing has happened. So for now, it’s a victory! So feel victorious, friend! :D

    • For a LONG time after charlie was born it was ALWAYS in the back of my mind that the other shoe would drop at some point. But now I am thinking that shoe has been pretty well secured up there. I mean, it’s there, but it’s not going to fall. Not this time.

  4. You are awesome. It is totally a big deal. I feel like those of us who have struggled with postpartum mood disorders will always be traveling the road of recovery, in one way or another.

    Thanks for sharing, Katie. You’re one strong mama. xoxo

    • Thanks for always being there for me, Jennifer. I know my struggle isn’t over, but a BIG painful part of the journey is behind me.

  5. So glad for you. Truly. xoxo

  6. So happy for you, Katie. And proud to know you. You’re a fine example of pretty much everything.

    • aw. that is SUCH a huge compliment! I’m proud to know you too. Thank you for always being in my cheering section.

  7. You really are such an inspiring person. Thank you for always being so candid!

  8. Yes! I could have written this about myself. Feels good, doesn’t it? Great job sister!

  9. R's Mom says:

    What an awesome post! So happy for you! You are a fantastic example of someone who recognized that things weren’t right, took action, and pushed through to the other side!

    • What an awesome comment! Thank you so much! And thank you for showing up here and urging me on whenever I was struggling. Couldn’t have done it without you!

  10. you rock Katie. you’re an inspiration, even to someone who hasn’t had any PPD issues (or none that I’ve connected to PPD anyway?) and I’m very happy for you that you’re in THIS place. keep on keeping on lady. xo

    • Aw. I do like to think I rock..but an inspiration? That is a way bigger responsibility! but thank you for thinking so! And thank you for always being here for me!

  11. yay for you! I agree with the others. Enjoy your success. You know how to reach out and get help when you need it and that’s a big deal.

  12. Oh thank G-d. I got really scared when I read your post on FB and was thinking, oh no! My words triggered something and I felt awful for a split second and I want to explain what I meant by choosing them, even though you’ve already found the meaning for yourself.

    I feel that when I come here you show strength. You show that even after your second child and your bouts of PPD, that there is a way to the other side. You can come out of it strongly and you can recognize your needs and issues and so forth and you show that it’s never impossible. I hope that makes sense. I know I always consider myself “postpartum” – once you’re a mom you’re always post-the partum/pregnancy period of your life – so to speak. And so regardless of what mental health related things you or I experience, the anxiety, the depression, whatever else happens, we’re taking care of ourselves and I think anyone looking to find a light at the end of the PPD/PPA/PPMDs tunnel needs to SEE that. And I’m done. I hope this wasn’t too long a comment and perhaps I should just email it to you but I want others to know what I mean in case they read my post because of you. ((hugs)) and love to you, mama.

    • You were the THIRD person to randomly say that I was “past” it and the lightbulb went on…I AM PAST IT!

      So thank you.

  13. What’s most awesome about you (okay, one of the most awesome things) is you are SO DAMN HONEST.
    You share the dark; you share your doubts; your share even your doubts about the dark.

    And with every word, every post, every share, you make others feel less alone.
    More able to take charge of their own health and happiness.

    It’s a gift.
    And I’m so grateful you are where you are today.

    • I am so grateful to have you in my corner, Julie. Even when it’s so dark that I can’t see you there…you are there. Whether the darkness is mine or yours…you are always there. I don’t think I would be in this place without people like you. I mean, four years ago it was a BLOG that was sitting in front of me with all my symptoms staring at me like a man waving his arms: “HEY! YOU! RIGHT HERE!”

      And now it’s my own blog…and the people like you…that has helped me heal.

      I don’t know how to say thank you for that.

  14. What great news!!! I’ve been following your journey your past year as I suffer from bad depression. Things finally are starting to improve for me. I def have learned a lot from reading some of your posts. So thank you!! I go through periods myself and when I feel good I tend to go to therapy less. Its always nice to leave it open ended in case you need to revisit your situation.

    Hugs! And again I think this is great!!!

    • Thank you, Kelly. Again, like I said on twitter, I firmly believe that my success is rooted in my support network. I have a great one at home, but I have a very powerful one right here. Hugs to you, my friend. You are doing wonderfully too. Just remember YOU will always come out on the right side too. ALWAYS.

  15. Awesome, Katie! Just awesome! :)

  16. Kate, I’d give you a big ol’ hug if I could. It means so much that you and people like Lauren talk about these things. My support network isn’t what I’d like it to be (is it because I’m a guy in a room of girls? or am i just an asshole that no one likes?), but I know how important it is. We don’t make these changes by ourselves. Luckily I didn’t have any PPD issues, but I struggle with anxiety and depression regularly. Like you, I try to watch for the signs and change my behavior in time to make a difference.

    I don’t get any talk therapy, but it’s nice to know that if I need an appointment I can get one. Maybe try scheduling an appointment and a few weeks out decide if you can skip it or need to go. I recently started at a new doctor and it’s been so good. I hope you can stay happy with your primary taking the reigns.

    Much love.

  17. Congratulations! That is a VERY big deal. I feel like depression is something you’re never really done with. It might not be happening currently, but its always sort of there. It can always come back. At least that has been my experience. And I go longer and longer (months and years) before it comes back, but for me, at least not yet, it has never gone away. My therapist said the same thing to be that it’s okay if we stop seeing each other. It doesn’t mean that we’re “cured” it just means that we can handle it on our own. And I think its absolutely amazing that your husband is so supportive!

    • Oh yeah, I still have anxiety, OCD, and depression, but it’s not part of this postpartum thing anymore. And yes…it goes longer between episodes and is more manageable. There are no more intrusive thoughts. Thank goodness! And thank you for all your support during this time!

  18. Katie, I’m so happy for you! Reading your blog made me learn so much about PPD and dealing with mental disorders that I just didn’t understand before and it opened my eyes and broadened my horizons. So, thank you for that, for being so open and sharing what’s inside of you. xo

    • Susi, this is probably the most wonderful comment I have ever received. Thank you for being open to learning about something you didn’t know about and for always supporting me when I was going through dark times. I don’t really know how to thank you enough for that.

  19. <3

  20. Love this and I’m so proud of you. It’s a great gift to know that we can have our lives back and there isn’t just all better and very sick.

  21. It makes me so happy to read this. Thank you for talking about this topic – it’s so important for others out there to read.

  22. Thanks fir posting these types of blogs. I have been dealing with mental illness of family members my whole life mmost recently my daughter. There is something so isolating about it but it doesn’t have to be.

    • you are most welcome. Thank you for reading…and for linking to me as well! It’s so very important to talk about mood disorders (and all mental illness). It takes away some of it’s power.

  23. hooray! you deserve to feel strong and proud.

  24. I am so proud of you, Kate!! I have been keeping up with you for some time (ever since your testimony on SRT), and I have loved reading your blog! God bless you!!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] problems. Find help. And know that you are not alone, people are blogging about this here and here. And there are organizations out there to help. Many workplaces have things like “work and [...]

Speak Your Mind

*

CommentLuv badge